December 10, 2004

Watersheds

A few posts ago, I asked what books have the most personal meaning for you. I got some wonderful responses and my Christmas wish list got muuuuuuch longer. Tonight I happened across a wonderful blog that linked to a BBC article on the top thirty books that British women considered to be watersheds. I strongly agreed with some of the selections (The Awakening and The Bell Jar), questioned others (The Poisonwood Bible), giggled about one (Bridget Jones' Diary) and felt cheered by the inclusion of others (The Color Purple). A few of the selections were by my favorite authors but I felt like they had chosen second-tier samples of that author's skill (such as Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse rather than A Room of One's Own and Marge Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time rather than Vida). In at least two instances (Rebecca and Pride and Prejudice) I wondered what aspect of the books had been so monumental to the readers. Pride and Prejudice, for instance, is one of my favorite books. It never fails to cheer me up (it is one of my "comfort books") but I have never felt like it particularly changed my life. I would love to hear from someone who can better explain the inspiration...anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

However, the thing that I found the most striking was the difference between the books listed by Brits and the books that I predict would be selected by my countrywomen on this side of the Atlantic. Ladies, what books have influenced you? Gentlemen, feel free to weigh in, too. This is the perfect chance for all of the North American bibliophiles out there to prove to ourselves and to our European counterparts that we are just as culturally rich. (If nothing else, I'm hoping that an appeal to your patriotism will drum up some good replies.) What do you think?

7 Comments:

Blogger jett shared an opinion...

Thanks for linking to my blog! My number one book for me is Les Miserables. If I had to choose an American-English author, I don't know which particular book, but the one I enjoy the most and has the most influence is Norman Mailer.

9:49 pm  
Blogger Sherry C shared an opinion...

I see that you surfed from my site over to my dear friend K Murphy J's, and from there to her photoblog. She is a good one to ask about the appeal of Pride and Predjudice, as I know for a fact that it is one of her favorites.

And anyone who effectively concludes a paragraph with "...anyone? Bueller? Bueller?", is automatically worthy of my respect. My children (ages seven and four) have no idea what that means or where it comes from, but they have heard it so many times that it is now part of our family's shared language.

Likewise, I chuckled when I overheard my youngest talking to her baby doll this afternoon, using elements of pop-culture that have no context for her other than her mother's crazy ranting. "No, I'm sorry; that is incorrect," she informed her dolly, "But thank-you for playing; we have some lovely parting gifts for you." Word for word, I swear.

Hmmm. Perhaps this one is only funny to me. It was much more humorous at the time than it now appears in text.

11:46 pm  
Blogger Toni shared an opinion...

Hi,

Sorry I didn't see your comment until just now. As improved as it is over Blogger comments, Haloscan doesn't notify you through email when you get a new comment. I just happened to be looking through my archives when I stumbled upon it.

To respond to your comment- Blog Explosion never guaranteed that people will automatically like your blog just because they see it. Remember that is up to the blog owners themselves, to make their blogs more interesting to read- and to look at.

Although I'm not nearly as popular as some other blogs out there in BE land(Michele, Buzzstuff, etc.), 10 people have blogmarked me, 5 people have blogrolled me, and a couple of people even actually take the time to regularly comment on my blog.

So yes, it's possible to get readers. But you have to give them something to read. A reason to stop in their tracks and stay longer than 30 seconds.

the first thing I did was change my comments program from the default Blogger to Haloscan. Non-Blogger members have told me that they often just don't bother commenting when they find that the comments system is run by Blogger. The second thing I did was change the layout from my generic Blogger one to a more unique one. Granted, it's still a template made by someone else, but so far I haven't seen anyone but me with this layout. Third thing is to post as often as possible, so people will keep coming back to see what you've written. Fourth and most important is to keep writing interesting posts that people will want to read.

On a different note- I'm not sure what you meant when you said that I was "smart to do the whole posting thing". Are you referring to my blog? I can't quite remember my last comment to you.

On another different note, if you still want that article, I'd be happy to send it to you. Just let me know how you want me to send it. BTW, just to let you know, it's not a linguistics paper. It's a psychology research paper, and the style of writing may be different than what you may expect.

10:08 am  
Blogger Cattiva shared an opinion...

This is a hard question. Really hard because I read...a LOT.

How about the book I've read recently that touched me. It's "Through the Burning Steppe" by Elena Kozhina. It's a memoir of Wartime Russia when Kozhina was a child. Quick read, very engaging.

8:12 am  
Blogger Candace shared an opinion...

I've recently finished The Sparrow and its (must-read)sequel, Children of God, by Mary Doria Russell. This experience will stay with me the rest of my life. I recommend it from my soul to everyone who knows what it's like to be so angry at God they couldn't even speak. It helped me explore my faith, my doubts, my perceptions and expectations of God, and the places of light and darkness within. I've emerged with a more mature and realistic faith, a deeper faith, than ever before.

9:19 pm  
Blogger Mandy shared an opinion...

Have you read "Girls night in"? It's a collection of short stories by some AMAZING women writers. I highly recommend it.

8:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous shared an opinion...

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who questions the importance of "The Poisonwood Bible".

TW(Came by way of Blog Explosion)

5:54 pm  

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